Friern Barnet School has been given the highest national award for commitment to the arts for the second time in a row.

The Artsmark Gold award is given to schools that have shown a particular commitment to transforming lives, raising aspirations and improving opportunities for young people and their communities through the arts.

The award is only given every three years and the school, in Hemington Avenue, Friern Barnet, first received it three years ago.

Recent projects at the school include 13-year-old students working on a storytelling project with students from Whetstone's Oakleigh Special School, resulting in a joint live music and drama performance. Meanwhile, 15-year-old students went to the Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, to work alongside playwright Leo Butler and see their own plays performed on the stage by professional actors.

Students on the vocational BTec Performing Arts Course, aged 15 and 16, who performed for Barnet Borough Sight Impaired Group in St Mary's Church Hall, Finchley, in May, were praised by the group's chairwoman, Jean McVey, for their professionalism and fantastic ability'.

Headteacher Jeremy Turner said: "I am absolutely delighted with the award, which recognises the outstanding talents of our students and our major contribution to the community.

"As the new headteacher since September, it's been a fantastic year. We've had national recognition in a number of areas for our improvement and this award confirms our valuable, positive ethos and culture, which we're very proud of."